Viewing Locations

SJAA Viewing Sites

Here are some of the observing sites used by SJAA members and other amateur astronomers around the South Bay.

Links to SJAA Sites and directions:
The maps shown below are interactive and can be zoomed and panned.
Click on “View Large Map” below each map for a full blown Google map where you can obtain directions to the location.

Houge Park

Houge Park is located near the junction of highways 17 and 85, near the border of San Jose and Los Gatos. Use the map below to find your way to San Jose’s Houge Park, then to find your way around once you are there.


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Enter Houge Park at the yellow car icon on the map.

This is the site of our city star parties and the location of our monthly general meetings. Houge (rhymes with “Yogi”) Park is in San Jose, near Campbell and Los Gatos. This location is very convenient for city residents, and a good location for introducing people to amateur astronomy. Views of the constellations, brighter deep sky objects, the moon and planets are typical observing targets. Between the parking lot and tennis courts is a sidewalk where public star parties are held. The meeting hall is directly ahead (south) of the parking lot.

1st time at Houge Park?  Look for entrance next to tennis courts off of Twilight Drive.

Restrooms: on the other side of the the hall.

Telescope Row Coordinates: 37.2575,-121.9423
Building One Coordinates: 37.2569,-121.9420

Coyote Lake (Boat Ramp or Dam)

7/24 open access, just pay $6 at the machine at the entrance if no ranger is present.

Boat Ramp


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Restroom: 3 Porta potty toilets opened 7/24.

Coyote Lake Boat Ramp GPS Coordinates: N 37 05 34.28 W 121 32 33.05

Dam


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Restrooms: 1 Porta potty toilet opened 7/24.

Coyote Lake Dam GPS Coordinates: N 37 07 03.77 W 121 33 05.14

Henry Coe – Hunting Hollow Lot


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7/24 open access, just pay $6 at the iron pole.

Restrooms: 3 Porta potty toilets opened 7/24.

Hunting Hollow GPS Coordinates: N 37 04 33.88 W 121 27 59.54.

Henry Coe – Main Overflow Lot


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7/24 open access, just pay $8 at the iron pole.

Restrooms: 1 Porta potty toilet access unknown.

Main Overflow Lot GPS Coordinates: N 37 11 14.56 W 121 33 03.86

The iron ranger (iron pole pay drop-off) is up the road among the main buildings.  You have to drive up to it first, pay, then drive back down to the Overflow Lot.  Make sure you keep the receipt tab with you.

Monte Bello Open Space Park in Palo Alto


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Need to get permit to go. (see Permit Information)

Restrooms: 1 permanent toilet access unknown.

Monte Bello GPS Coordinates: N 37 19 31.84 W 122 10 43.52

Fremont Peak State Park


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Fremont Peak State Park is south of the village of San Juan Bautista, about a 1 hour drive from San Jose.

There are several areas within the park used by astronomers.The areas near the ranger house (Observatory and Ranger row on the are managed under contract to the state by the Fremont Peak Observatory Association. Contact FPOA for access if you want to set up a scope. FPOA runs a summer program at this location using their 30″ telescope. For more information contact FPOA.

The Coutler and SW Lot areas are managed directly by the park.

Lake San Antonio


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The annual CalStar dark sky party is at Lake San Antonio in southern Monterey County.  Lake San Antonio is approximately 2.5 hours south of San Jose.

Here is some information about visiting at other times. See the CalStar site for maps and directions.

Williams Hill

Williams Hill is a hilltop about ten miles north of Lake San Antonio.   Most of the land is BLM-owned; there is also a large microwave tower(s) installation.

The “hill” is actually a fairly long ridge running north-south, with a road along the ridge-top.  The high-point and the microwave towers are at the south end.  There is a BLM campground.  And ‘informal’ camping is allowed.

To get to Williams Hill from 101:

Get off 101 at “San Ardo” which may be the “Paris Valley Road”.  Follow that road west for about a mile and a half, then make a sharp left onto “Lockwood San Ardo Road” — there is an ordinary street sign.  Follow the good dirt road to the top of the ridge and a big intersection.  The ridge-top intersection is at 35.987n 121.0153w
At the top, you can continue straight (actually bearing left) and you will go down the far side toward Lockwood and LSA. Or turn sharply left to stay on the ridge, heading south, and come to the BLM campground and eventually (2.5 miles straight-line, prob five by the road) a field near microwave relay towers (few trees no lights at night) at 35.9526 n 121.0016w. Or turn right on a slightly poorer road and get to a big parking lot at 35.993n 121.024w.

You can see all this at GoogleEarth.   BLM webpage: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/hollister/recreation/williams_hill.html

Williams Hill is about as dark as LSA.  It figures to have better seeing, because it can be in the Pacific air-flow rather than being “in a hole”.  Sites at the southern part of the ridge are higher-altitude than northern sites.

Other Sites

Coming soon ….

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